FAQ

Which versions of AOL does the PFC Viewer work for?
Does PFC Viewer alter my Filing Cabinet in any way?
What can I do with an mbox file?
How can I import my emails into Outlook Express?
Can I view or export Address Book entries in the Filing Cabinet?
Where can I get more help?
What tools did you use to develop the PFC Viewer?
Is the source code available for PFC Viewer?
What is the history of the PFC Viewer application?


Which versions of AOL does the PFC Viewer work for?
I have successfully opened cabinet files from AOL 5, 7, and 9.  I have received reports that AOL 8 cabinet files can also be opened.
Does PFC Viewer alter my Filing Cabinet in any way?
No.  PFC Viewer is designed to open the cabinet file read-only, load the contents into memory, and immediately close the file.  Which doesn't mean that something bad couldn't happen.  I don't mean to sound like a doomsayer, but computers have been known to crash from time to time with unpredictable results, and people have been known to choose an export file name identical to the original cabinet file name.  So it is still best practice to copy your cabinet file to another separate directory, and work with the copy.
What can I do with an mbox file?
You can import it into a variety of other mail clients - Eudora, Netscape, Outlook Express, and Thunderbird to name a few - on a variety of platforms.  You can also open an mbox file in a plain text editor.  This is as close to a universal mail file format as I could find.  It is a very simple one to develop for, so it made my life much easier.  The format for mail messages is described in RFC 822. More information about the mbox file format can be found here.
How can I import my emails into Outlook Express?
Use the Export Mail to Mbox+Toc function to generate a set of mailbox files that can be imported into Outlook Express 5.  To import the messages into OE, select the File Import Messages menu item.  When prompted by the import wizard, choose the Eudora Pro or Light program, browse to the directory where you exported your emails, and select the mailbox file to import.  With luck, the process should work smoothly.
Can I view or export Address Book entries in the Filing Cabinet?
You can only view AOL 5 Address Book entries; no export function is available at this time.  Note that starting with AOL 6, address book entries are stored in a separate set of files with the extensions .ab*.  Starting with AOL 7, address book entries are encoded using an undetermined method.  I have not embarked on the task of reading these files, decoding their entries, and combining them into the display, and I'm not sure if or when I ever will.
Where can I get more help?
While suggestions are welcome, writing to me for assistance will prove to be unreliable.  Don't take it personally; it's a sign of the times.  I am only one man, and it's unlikely I'll be able to respond to every request that comes my way.  In addition, I may confuse your email with the endless rivers of spam that collects in my Inbox, and delete it.  Instead, try writing to one of the newsgroups about AOL, like alt.aol.tricks or alt.online-service.america-online. I look there from time to time, so you might even get a response from your friendly, neighborhood software developer.  If I'm in the mood.
What tools did you use to develop the PFC Viewer?
The PFC Viewer was originally developed using the Sun Java 2 Software Development Kit (J2SDK) v1.5.0.  To create the Java Swing user interface, I used the NetBeans v5.0 IDE - this is the open-source variant of the old Sun Forte for Java IDE (now known as Sun ONE Studio).  Apache Ant 1.6.2 was used to build the project.  The development work was done under Linux, while final testing was done under Windows.
Is the source code available for PFC Viewer?
Yes.  The source code for PFC Viewer is hosted on GitHub.  The code is distributed under the terms of the MIT license.  The source code for the current version is also available in the archive file pfcview-0.5-src.jar.
What is the history of the PFC Viewer application?
The brief version history of the PFC Viewer application is listed below.
0.5 5 Feb 2011 Improves memory performance for large files.
Launches application window in center of screen.
0.4 30 Dec 2006 Fixes array index bug while reading AOL 9 Filing Cabinet.
0.3 16 Mar 2006 Specifies Main-Class attribute in jar manifest for easier startup.
Displays toolbar buttons for some menu items.
Displays main window using system look-and-feel.
0.2 29 Mar 2003 Exports emails to mbox + toc files, enabling import into Outlook Express.
Displays v5 address book entries.
Allows email text to be copied to clipboard.
Remembers last export directory.
Fixes bug that caused cabinet index entries to be skipped.
Console program outputs message if argument is not a valid cabinet file.
0.1 25 Dec 2002 Initial release.